job application fraud

Job application fraud is on the increase – here’s how to avoid it

You’ve heard the saying ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ plenty of times before – and with job application fraud on the increase this can also be said of candidates.

From the odd white lie to whole careers being fabricated to create a CV with the wow factor, some candidates are being tempted to commit job application fraud to land the job they want. And whilst at first these fibs can go undetected, employers soon become aware that all as not as it should be when certain competencies and skills are found to be lacking.

Although it’s difficult to say exactly what percentage of candidates are embellishing their CV’s, some experts have stated that it could be as much as 30% and that failure to effectively check a candidates’ credentials can have serious repercussions for the employer further down the line.

So how can you ensure that your prospective new hire can walk the walk as well as talk the talk? Here’s are top tips on how to safeguard your recruitment process from the threat of job application fraud.

The pre-screen process
Before you invite any candidate for an interview, take another look at their CV. Is there anything that raises an alarm or doesn’t quite ring true? This might sound sceptical and unfair to the candidates who’ve taken the time to apply for your role, but imagine if you were one of the honest applicants who’s CV is being overshadowed by someone who seems to tick all the boxes. Wouldn’t you rather go through a stringent pre-screen process rather than lose out to someone who might not be as qualified or skilled as they make out?

Next, arrange a time to conduct a telephone pre-screen. Ask questions on any areas they you’ve flagged up and see how well they respond to your questions and if their answers ring true.
If you don’t feel confident in undertaking this process yourself, ask one of our experienced Candidate Resourcers for help and advice or speak to us about carrying out this part of the recruitment process on your behalf.

Academic background
Sadly, a high percentage of employers take academic qualifications on a CV at face value and fail to check if the criteria for gaining the particular qualification was met in full or even if the candidate started it in the first place.

The worst examples of job application fraud are usually when unscrupulous applicants fabricate a long list of well-respected qualifications when in fact they haven’t received any training or education in this area at all. University degrees have been forged in the past and if you don’t have an expert eye for this type of thing it’s easy to be misled into believing that the qualification is genuine.

Ask the candidate if they would be happy for you to confirm any qualifications with the relevant training or education authorities before any offer of employment is made.
Reference checks
Even if you know the candidates’ previous employer, always check references for each and every applicant. You might gather some important insights from their previous employer, including the role they held and employment dates.

Some candidates have attempted to embellish their previous role in a bid to climb up the career ladder, so make sure you double check any information to be on the safe side.

Finally, remember that your recruitment process should be exactly the same for every candidate that applies for a role to avoid discrimination, bias or unfairness. For more information on how to avoid job application fraud when hiring, speak to the team at Appointments today.

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.